How Employers Can Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

How Employers Can Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Every organization benefits from a healthy workforce. This is so because healthy employees work at their optimal which increases productivity. Healthy employees rarely take sick time off, which reduces the stress of finding replacements or projects halting midway. Additionally, when it comes to projects needing some creativity, mentally healthy employees are able to charge through and remain innovative.  The key is that every business begins to own a plan to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

However, modern workspaces demand so much from an employee, leaving little time to think about leading a healthy lifestyle. That is why employers should be intentional in encouraging their employees on the same both at work and outside work.

If you are wondering where to start, here are a few guidelines to get you started. 

   1. Encourage physical exercise

 Physical exercise plays a crucial part in preventing diseases such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers among other life-threatening illnesses. It is also a way to clear the mind and get rid of life stresses, boost morale, and enhance motivation. However, as said earlier, it can be very challenging to incorporate exercise in the modern workday.

As an employer, you need to think creatively about ways to encourage your employees to be physically active. A good place to start is to encourage biking to work.  You can give your employees allowances to buy bikes as well as create showering spaces and bike racks. In addition, ensure that you regularly participate in charity or fun runs in the community as an organization.

Also, ensure that you encourage your workers to stretch regularly during working hours. That is especially important for employees that spend long hours sitting behind the desk. Back and neck stretches, for example, can prove vital in such instances. So, ensure that your employees or workers often get up from behind their desks, move about, and stretch their limbs, back, and necks. You can teach them some of the best neck stretches and techniques to help them feel more relaxed and reduce the risks of developing neck sprains. Additionally, it is essential to encourage those who spend long hours behind their computers to take regular breaks.  

In addition to being healthier by incorporating a regular exercise routine into your life, you may also benefit financially. Says Melissa Thompson of Diabetes 365, "Many health and life insurance companies are offering discounted premiums to those who live a healthy lifestyle. As an example, life insurance for people with diabetes will tend to be more expensive. By showing the insurer you work out regularly through FitBit data or information from an Apple Watch, you could receive a discount of 9% to 12% annually. These add up to significant savings over the life of the policy. For certain individuals, the motivation to save money on insurance products may be enough to keep them active".

 2. Foster ways to curb stress and anxiety

With huge burdens to carry both in life and at work, many individuals find themselves fighting stress that easily morphs into severe mental illnesses. As an employer, this is a monster that you shouldn’t let creep in on your workforce.

Sometimes all it takes to get rid of stress is to talk about it. One of the ways you can encourage a healthy lifestyle in this sector is to create spaces that employees can interact with one another. A breakout area, for instance, is a space where employees can be themselves away from the seriousness of work. A kitchen in the office can make a good breakout area. Consider remodeling your kitchen to include different sitting arrangements to spike different conversations, and to create a friendly ambiance where employees can feel cozy and comfortable to strike up uncomfortable conversations that are definitely worth it, such as their mental wellbeing in the workplace or just in general.

Another way to tackle mental health in the workplace is to allow incentives that help employees improve their work-life balance. For instance, you can encourage flexible schedules for them. Let employees work when they feel most productive and from anywhere they feel motivated. That way, they will have enough time to carry out personal tasks while remaining productive on their projects.

In addition, be sure to create an environment of psychological safety for all those in the workplace. This assures employees that they won't be humiliated or punished for speaking their minds and airing their opinions.  Instead, create a culture of kindness, care, and trust.

 3. Encourage breaks

Sitting for long hours can lead to health complications such as shortened muscles, poor digestion, bad posture, and back, neck, and shoulder pain. That is why employees should be encouraged to stand up in between work and take regular breaks. A standing desk, for instance, allows the employees to work in a standing position, offering much-needed rest to the body. Ergonomic chairs and office setup allow a good posture when working, eliminating the need to strain the body.

 4. Encourage healthy eating

Just like exercising, healthy eating is also a way to keep away various illnesses. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, offer assistance to your employees to start eating healthy by providing healthy snacks and fruits in the office kitchen and dining area. Offer appliances such as a refrigerator and a microwave where employees can heat their lunch to encourage them to carry healthy food from home. Juicers and blenders are also good for encouraging employees to make healthy choices in the workplace. If you have in-house catering, ensure that all the menus have healthy ingredients and positive nutritional value.

Another 0ption is to provide healthy foods.  Your break room refrigerator could be stocked with Blendtopia superfood smoothies for example.

 5. Discourage smoking and alcohol

Addictions to smoking or alcohol greatly affect employee health. An alcoholic employee will have a hard time making decisions, resulting in reduced productivity. Create a no smoking policy within the building and a responsible drinking policy at work. You can also introduce an alternative to what they are using, you can click here to know about this alternative. This should be duplicated to company vehicles and events as well. Avoid providing alcoholic drinks at the workspace and instead replace them with water and juices. You can also encourage team members to join programs aimed at curbing these addictions by introducing options through the workplace HR.

 Final Thoughts

So much can be done to encourage a healthy lifestyle for your employees. However, all the efforts resonate with them much better if you are in the picture as well. Ensure that you are seen doing what you are preaching. Lead by example. Don’t forget to keep monitoring the progress and looking for ways that you can continually improve in this area.

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